Utah man threatens Salt Lake City mayor over stay-at-home order

Stock image | Photo by Barbol88/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A day before a large weekend rally in Salt Lake City that drew hundreds of people to protest the city’s stay-at-home order, a man was arrested who police say threatened a “civil war” if Mayor Erin Mendenhall did not “open up the city,” according to charging documents.

Marlin Richard Baer was arrested Friday on suspicion of making a terrorist threat and electronic communication harassment after he made the phone call to Mendenhall’s office demanding that she cancel the stay-at-home order that she invoked on March 29, police said.

Baer, of Salt Lake City, was arrested on suspicion of threat of terrorism and electronic communication harassment, both misdemeanors, before he could attend a rally Saturday at city hall that he referenced in his call that drew about 1,000 demonstrators.

Baer, 59, said in the call that Mendenhall would be “forcibly removed from office” if she didn’t open up the city, police said.

Baer mentioned the rally in his call and said that if things didn’t change a “civil war” would be coming and that police wouldn’t stop him, the charging document alleges. Baer also commented on Facebook that people should bring guns to the rally.

“This is going to be an emotionally charged rally and there is concern that Marlin will commit violence if the mayor does not release the COVID-19 restrictions,” police wrote in a probable cause statement issued Friday that was not widely disseminated until Monday. “The conduct that Marlin was engaging in regarding the threat of violence toward the mayor has caused alarm.”

Booking photo of Marlin Richard Baer, 59, of Salt Lake City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The rally Saturday in Salt Lake City was one of several protests against stay-at-home orders around the country organized by small-government groups and Trump supporters.

Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has not issued a statewide stay-at-home order but he has requested that people stay home as much as possible.

Herbert said Friday he plans to gradually reopen the economy in early May by allowing in-person dining at restaurants, reopening gyms and resuming elective surgeries.

Utah has 27 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly 3,100 confirmed cases, according to figures from state health officials.

The rally Saturday in Salt Lake City was one of several protests against stay-at-home orders around the country organized by small-government groups and Trump supporters.

Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has not issued a statewide stay-at-home order but he has requested that people stay home as much as possible.

Herbert said Friday he plans to gradually reopen the economy in early May by allowing in-person dining at restaurants, reopening gyms and resuming elective surgeries.

Utah has 27 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly 3,100 confirmed cases, according to figures from state health officials.

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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